SHOPPING FOR CAR INSURANCE, SAVINGS versus SECURITY
By: Aubrey Love
You’re shopping for car insurance, and you are bombarded with different ads trying to sell you a policy. Which one do you go with? How do you know which company has a policy that meets your needs? In this blog post, we will address some of the more important aspects of shopping for car insurance as outlined in the following list.
- Can I trust the insurance company?
- How much car insurance do I need?
- After the sale. How’s the support?
- When I need them, will they be there?
- What if I have extenuating circumstances?
- I’m a better (safer) driver than my spouse, can I get discounted rate?
Can I trust the insurance company?
Every day we see ads on T.V., social media, etc. where insurance agencies are boasting about how you could save $700 or more per year by switching to their company. Some companies have been around a long time, others have not. Longevity in the market does not interpret to trust and good customer support/service. That cheap auto insurance may come at a high price when you need to file a claim.
You should do your due diligence while researching perspective insurance companies. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see how they rank. Also reach out your friends, family, co-workers, etc. to see who they recommend and why.
How much car insurance do I need?
In some scenarios, you may only need liability insurance, other times you may need full coverage insurance. Some car insurance companies will allow you to switch back and forth depending on your situation. For example: you only drive a specific vehicle six months out of the year.
You can upgrade to full coverage insurance during those six months, and downgrade to liability only for the remaining six months. Basic liability insurance and full coverage insurance are not always your only two options. Shopping around, you will find that most reputable insurance companies will offer variations between the two.
After the sale. What are their support contact options?
This one has become an increasingly important issue in our modern times. Being able to speak to insurance representative after the sale should play a key role in your car insurance decision making process. If you can’t get ahold of them while currently paying your premiums, what is it going to be like when you need to file a claim?
Once again, ask your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. which car insurance company they use and don’t be afraid to ask about their communication with that company. Some companies offer easy methods of communication like phone, text, chat, email, etc. while other companies can hardly be reached.
When I need them, will they be there?
Everyday, we see ads on T.V., social media, etc. where insurance agencies are bosting about how you could save $700 or more per year by switching to their company. Some companies have been around a long time, others have not. Longevity in the market does not interpret to trust and good customer support/service.
These, so called fly-by-night, car insurance companies may have lower rates, but what happens when you need to file a claim? A car insurance company known simply as “The General” offers a low rate and easy qualify. But what’s the cost in the long run? Will they be there? Some of them will raise your rates dramatically or simply drop you as a client. And trying to collect from them can turn into a never-ending rat-race.
So, was that savings worth it in the long run?
What if I have extenuating circumstances?
Here is a real-life example that best covers this topic. A young couple had two vehicles, both covered under the same policy with the same insurer.
One spouse, backing out of the garage, hit their spouse’s vehicle. Both were damaged and needed to be towed to a body shop. Since they both were employed at different companies, they needed two rentals. However, their policy only allowed one rental per household. This couple learned the hard way, that having a better policy or separate policies made more sense for them. This is just another example of what you need to ask your potential insurer about before signing a contract.
Larger companies such as: Allstate, Geico, State Farm, Progressive, etc. may be more willing to work with you on unique situations where the smaller insurance companies like Liberty Mutual, Esurance, Travelers Insurance, etc. may not be able to accommodate special circumstances.
I’m a better (safer) driver than my spouse, can I get discounted rate?
Most of us never really give this much thought, but we really should. What if one spouse has an immaculate driving record, and the other spouse does not. Adding a high-risk driver to your current policy may cause your premiums to go up.
Consider separate car insurance policies for each person and the car they most commonly drive. Where one may have their car insurance with State Farm, their spouse may use USAA. Both parties should not have to pay higher premiums when one has a better track record. This option could save you hundreds per year.
Disclaimer: The information posted on blogs and vlogs by City National Bank is for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional or legal advice. City National Bank will not be held liable for any loss or damage of any kind in connection with this blog.